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How to add fonts in Photoshop

Learning how to add fonts in Photoshop is a basic but useful skill. Almost all design projects will require the inclusion of text at some point. And while Photoshop may not be the first port of call for any budding typesetters, it has the capacity to replicate many of the best text options from other apps, combining them with its own more visual tools to create novel and original designs. And with rising demand, it has never been easier to discover and acquire new and free fonts.

This article will explain how to download a font from an online library and activate it in Photoshop, as well as consider any licensing issues that may come with it (these processes are based on modern operating systems and may differ slightly with older versions). Get Adobe Creative Cloud to get started in Photoshop, as well as access a huge library of fonts available with Adobe Fonts.

How to add fonts in Photoshop on a Mac

01. Browse and download font

DaFont page

Free online font libaries, like DaFont can be good places to experiment, but make sure you read the license agreements before using for client work

Browse your chosen library to source a font that suits your project. Most of the more established sites will offer filtering options, allowing you to narrow your search down by certain parameters, such as displaying only handwritten or decorative fonts. When you find a choice you’re happy with, click the download button. Make sure you quit any active applications at this point.

02. Locate font file on system

Font in Downloads folder

Locate the font file in your Downloads folder, most likely with file ‘otf or ttf’ extensions

Locate the font file in your Downloads folder. If the folder is zipped then double-click on it to access the contents. If you downloaded multiple fonts, they will each have their own separate folder. Two of the most common font file extensions to watch out for are OTF and TTF (see section below for more info, or see our guide to common image file formats).

03. Install font

Installing font

Double-click on the font file to open the Font Box application and install the font

For installing your font, you have three options:

Option 01: Double-clicking on the font file will open the Font Box application, where you can simply click a button to install the font, making it available across all applications on the computer, not just Photoshop.

Option 02: You can manually copy/move the font files from the Downloads folder into either the Users/Library/Fonts folder (to make available for specified, individual users) or Library/Fonts (to make available for all users).

Option 03: To use a Font Management Utility, refer to that documentation for instructions on adding and activating fonts.

04. Select font in Photoshop

Open Photoshop and scroll down the Character tab until you reach the desired font. Select it and use the Type tool to add to your project. To apply artistic effects to your text you may need to rasterise it first, which turns the text into a bitmap pixel-based image. Once you do this you will no longer be able to edit the text.

How to add fonts in Photoshop on Windows

01. Browse and download font

Font Squirrel page

Make sure you read the license agreements before using fonts downloaded online for client work

There are plenty of online libraries that give you a wide choice of fonts to choose from. Utilise their filtering options to focus in on the styles you want. You can also download fonts from the Microsoft Store. Click on the download button and close any active apps.

02. Locate font file on system

Font in Downloads folder

Locate the font file in your Downloads folder, most likely with file ‘otf or ttf’ extensions

Open the Downloads folder and scroll down to the recently added font file. If the folder is zipped then right-click and select 'Extract All' on it to access the contents. Fonts are downloaded on an individual basis, so there will be multiple folders if you downloaded multiple fonts. OTF and TTF are the two most common font file extensions.

03. Install font

Installing font

Right-click on the font file and click install or double-click to open the installer

There are three options for installing your font in Photoshop on Windows.

Option 01: Right-click on the font file and click install, making it available across all applications on the computer, not just Photoshop.

Option 02: Click on the Start Menu > Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Fonts. You can simply copy and paste new font files into this list of activated fonts.

Option 03: To use a Font Management Utility, refer to that documentation for instructions on adding and activating fonts.

04. Select font in Photoshop

Your chosen font should be available on your computer now, so open Photoshop and select it in the Character tab. If you wish to add any of Photoshop’s artistic effects you may need to rasterise the text, making it an editable bitmap pixel-based image. Make sure you’re happy with your text first, since you cannot edit it after this process.

Font licences: What to consider

Google fonts

Google Fonts provides an open-source collection of fonts that can be used privately or commercially

Although free font libraries may seem to be a limitless smorgasbord, it is worth considering licences before tucking in. Since every font is regarded as its own piece of software, it is bound by the same licensing agreements when installing onto your computer. Each font comes with some type of licence, which you can check on the End-User License Agreement that comes with any font you download. 

A desktop licence will allow you to install a font onto your computer and use in any application, which makes them fine to use for personal projects, but problems arise when you take on any commercial work.

Even if a font is advertised as a free download, it may still have restrictions on it regarding commercial work. In the same respect, it’s possible that someone may upload a font and describe it as ‘free’ without the original designer’s permission. When working for clients it is imperative that you check the font licence and purchase any licences if needed.

The easiest away around this is open-source licensing. These are free to download and use, so long as you don’t resell and occasionally give credit for use. A good example is Google Fonts, which is an open-source collection, popular with designers, that can be used privately or commercially.

How to add fonts in Photoshop: Adobe Fonts

Adobe Fonts

Adobe Fonts is available with any Adobe CC subscription. Access online or through the app

Another good resource for Adobe CC subscribers is Adobe Fonts, which presents a huge selection of typefaces, cleared for personal and commercial use, with seamless integration with CC. If you are online and logged into CC, you can access Adobe Fonts from inside the app or online. 

If you find a font you like, you can simply click the slider to activate either individual fonts or entire families. These will become available in all Adobe apps. When opening a project with fonts that you don’t own, you will be given the option of Resolving Fonts, which syncs any matching fonts from Adobe Fonts. All fonts are included with any CC subscription and there are no limits on how many you can use at once.

OTF vs TTF

Of all the extensions that indicate a font file, the two most common are TTF (TrueType Font) and OTF (OpenType Font). TTF is an older format that uses glyph tables to define its characters’ appearance, while OTF uses glyphs alongside Compact Font Format tables, giving it the potential for smaller file sizes. Although OTF fonts are becoming more popular, TTF still remains a viable alternative which is easier to create than OTF.

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Source: codebloq design